Director of Bands and Director of the Music Department
Paul Norris, Swanson’s Director of Bands and Director of the Music Department, graduated from East Texas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. While at ETSU he performed in all of the University Bands, as well as Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and their Steel Drum Band (Calypso). In his last year at “E.T.” he directed the Marching Band on the field as Head Drum Major. After graduation from ETSU, he held a position for two years as Director of Bands at Wayside Middle School and Assistant Director of Bands at Boswell High School in Saginaw/Eagle Mountain ISD just north of Fort Worth, Texas. Paul is a 2003 graduate of George Mason University with a Master’s degree in Education. In 2006 he was named “Arlington County Teacher of the Year” and received the Washington Post “Agnes Meyer Outstanding Educator Award.”
During his second year of teaching in Texas public schools he auditioned for, and was accepted to a position in “The Commandant’s Own” United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, where he spent four years as a snare drummer based at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. During this time he performed for countless dignitaries, both foreign and domestic and two presidents.
Mr. Norris currently teaches at Swanson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. The Swanson bands have grown during his tenure, from approximately fifty wind/percussion students to an average of one hundred ninety band students in the music department in recent years. The Swanson Bands (four concert bands, a pep/marching band and a Jazz Ensemble) started participating in district and national music festivals for the first time during the second year that Mr. Norris taught at the school. Since then the bands have received Excellent and Superior ratings from adjudicators in northern Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and Toronto, Canada. The bands are called upon regularly to perform at community ceremonies, celebrations, and parades and were selected to perform the National Anthem for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team at Camden Yards. The Jazz Ensemble was selected to perform at The Kennedy Center partners in Education Conference in Washington, D.C.
Along with his duties as Director of Bands at Swanson Middle School, Mr. Norris also directs the Levine School of Music Jazz Ensemble (Big Band) and New Horizons Band. These groups have performed on the Millennium Stage and in the Terrace Theatre at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The German Embassy, The National Building Museum, The East Coast Jazz Festival, Schlesinger Hall, The Sylvan Theater, and at Blues Ally. Mr. Norris was recently interviewed on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” for his work with the Arlington based New Horizons Band on a segment dedicated to the benefits of musical activity after retirement. Additionally, he has been called upon to serve as festival adjudicator and honors band conductor for events throughoutthe state of Virginia on the county and district level.
Mr. Norris resides in Amissville, Virginia, with his wife (Debra) and two children (Gus and Jack).